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My First Car: Singer catches tow home from fish lorry

08:15 12 October 2015

Arthur Howell working on his 1931 Singer in the net yard of Hastings House, Whapload Road, Lowestoft, which is now the site of ATS Tyres.

Arthur Howell working on his 1931 Singer in the net yard of Hastings House, Whapload Road, Lowestoft, which is now the site of ATS Tyres.

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Arthur Howell found something fishy going on when his 1931 Singer had to be towed home.

I purchased my first car, a 1931 Singer, in the 1950s for £20 when wages were then about £8 per week.

A memorable night was when, as lads, four of us decided to take a trip to Norwich. When returning after midnight we got a puncture and, having no spare wheel, we jacked up the car and took the wheel off.

One lad, George Day who was a car mechanic, was elected to take the wheel and try to get the puncture repaired somewhere. The three of us who were left made ourselves comfortable in the back of the car, smoking and talking. However, having forgotten that I had left the sidelights on, by the time the fourth member arrived back around 4am, whistling and rolling the tyre up the road, the battery had run down.

We refitted the wheel and decided to flag down the fish lorry, which was returning to Lowestoft after delivering the early catch in Norwich. We secured a tow but, crossing over Yarmouth bridge, the tow rope became entangled around the front wheel. Frantically we shouted to the lorry driver to stop but to no avail. We continued over the bridge and, fortunately, at the next left-hand bend, the tow rope slackened and released from around the wheel. Relieved that the Singer was intact, we continued to Lowestoft with no further incidents.

The Singer was prone to breakdowns which meant pushing it home with the help of a girlfriend. Every few months the water pump had to be packed with grease to keep it going and the splits in the tyres were repaired by packing them with sorbo rubber and filling them with Bostik... obviously a long time before MOT tests!

The photograph was taken in the net yard of Hastings House, in Whapload Road, Lowestoft, which is now the site of ATS Tyres.

Tell us about your first car – bright spots, breakdowns, delights and disasters. Email your first car memories, with a picture if you have one, to motoring@archant.co.uk

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